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Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt

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  • Elizabeth Bell
    Hello Gentle Ujenites, Not weighing in on the discussion per se, just thought I d step outside it for a moment to say how good it is to have a forum for these
    Message 1 of 20 , Jun 9, 2005
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      Hello Gentle Ujenites,
       
      Not weighing in on the discussion per se, just thought I'd step outside it for a moment to say how good it is to have a forum for these discussions.  I am, of course, fairly undecided and so have agreed in turn, with a hearty "yes, yes, that is so true!" to every comment and angle presented thus far.
       
      It is so nice to exercise that side of my brain in thinking about larger, fairly sticky global issues when so much of my energy these days is take up by spit up, poop and boogers (yes, boogers - I knew about the spit up and poop but NO ONE warned me about the boogers!).
       
      And now back to Jubilee and Debt Forgiveness.  We apologize for interrupting your regular programming....
       
      : )
      Liz
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Eric Bone
      Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2005 9:02 PM
      Subject: Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt

      One thing about our ujeni discussion so far, and the international discussion for that matter, is the level of generality, the sweeping generalizations that we employ.  To me it is a much more interesting issue, and perhaps a more important one, to discuss the circumstances under which debt forgiveness can be effective and appropriate.  What objectives would we expect to accomplish by canceling the debt?  Under what circumstances would it be possible to accomplish those objectives?  Do we have a way of measuring the ability of a country to reap the benefits of debt cancellation?  Does this involve some set of criteria that the country must meet?  (I suppose these would be the "hoops" Kristen referred to.)

       

      The trend of the Bush administration's international development assistance strategy is to "reward good governance" with more assistance.  This is the basis of the Millenium Challenge Corporation.  Whether or not you believe that this is a good model for assistance (I am as yet undecided), for the sake of consistency it would make sense for the administration also to "reward" countries with debt cancellation.  So which African countries have the capacity to benefit now, and which ones would not?  I don't have the answer, but I believe it would be a more fruitful line of discussion to pursue than the sweeping (neo-)colonialism vs. corruption argument.

       

      -Eric

       

      p.s.  Vyrle (or anyone), has there ever been a time when the idea of the "Jubilee" redistribution of wealth every 50 years has actually been put into practice?  I have never heard of any evidence of this taking place, and so when I read Leviticus I suspect that it describes a mythical view of history, just as I consider the creation stories of Genesis to be mythical.  It seems to me they tell us something about a people's values, but are not to be taken literally.


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    • Daniel Dudley
      I don t know what to think of this conversation. I am glad that many are contributing to it though. Being someone who is has a bit of debt, I have a pretty
      Message 2 of 20 , Jun 9, 2005
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        I don't know what to think of this conversation. I am glad that many are
        contributing to it though. Being someone who is has a bit of debt, I have a
        pretty good idea of how good I would feel if someone said that all of my
        debts would be forgiven, but will it be any better for me? As much as I
        would like to think it, I have a funny feeling that I would be back in debt
        (maybe not as bad) in short order. It will probably be the same in these
        developing countries, who knows for sure? Have we ever done it before?
        What strings will the developed countries tie on to make it just as
        difficult for these developing countries to succeed in other ways? I am
        sure that we can think of something.

        I have read several books recently and can't help but think how they apply
        to this situation. The Fifth Discipline speaks about systems thinking. If
        we forgive the debt, what are all of the consequences of such an action?
        The book Collapse discusses many things, but one that sticks out in my mind
        is the impossibility for the planet to support a first-world lifestyle for
        everyone. Then again when did life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
        require two cars, 3 TV's, 2 computers, disposable EVERYTHING, etc. We saw
        freezie wrappers everywhere, imagine if disposable diapers were as easy to
        get.

        I also think that many of us picture Malawi exactly as we left it several
        years ago. Behind? yes, but at a complete stand-still because of debt? No.
        My wife is visiting family for the summer and I get to call her every couple
        of days. Last time she went home, I had to call her mother at the district
        hospital and have a messenger go to the house to tell her that I called and
        would call back. A couple of years ago, the telecom installed new phone
        lines, and many people now have phones. Gertrude's sister even has a cell
        phone. Gertrude tells me about how much Lilongwe has changed/modernized.
        Is it still very poor? Definately, but little by little things are changing
        for better or worse. Would debt forgiveness help accelerate development?
        Probably, but would the planet, the countries, cultures, and people be able
        to handle it? Who knows for sure?

        As I re-read this my posting is a bit confusing, but is this issue any less
        so?

        Dan



        >From: "vyrle" <vyrle@...>
        >Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
        >To: <ujeni@yahoogroups.com>
        >Subject: Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt
        >Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 15:25:29 -0700
        >
        >9 June 2005
        >
        >Dear all,
        >
        >I think I will jump in on this one for a moment.
        >
        >The debt forgiveness idea stems from the "Jubilee" year celebrated in
        >hebrew law as recorded in Leviticus. The description can be located in
        >most Bibles used by christian churches in the 25th chapter of Leviticus.
        >
        >Below is referenced an interesting study of the concept.
        >
        >Quote:
        >The law of Jubilee is given in the book of Leviticus. "And you shall number
        >seven sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and the space of the
        >seven sabbaths of years shall be unto you forty and nine years. THEN you
        >shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the
        >seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall you make the trumpet sound
        >throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and
        >PROCLAIM LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,
        >it shall be a Jubilee unto you; AND YOU SHALL RETURN EVERY MAN UNTO HIS
        >POSSESSION, and you shall return every man unto his family" (Lev. 25:8-10).
        >End Quote.
        >
        >www location
        >http://www.hisremnant.org/eby/articles/savior/jubilee.html
        >
        >Google search result
        >Jubilee
        >Study of Old Testament Jubilee and its application for all creation ... The
        >law of Jubilee is given in the book of Leviticus. " ... THEN you shall
        >cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh
        >...
        >
        >Homepage
        >www.hisremnant.org
        >
        >My comment:
        >
        >Notwithstanding our "cynicism" over the short term effectiveness of debt
        >forgiveness or the practicality of this action in the complexity of today's
        >planetary economics or whether the "apathetic masses" will respond in
        >positive ways, there are significant benefits beyond the simple costs and
        >cancellation of debts.
        >
        >Whether you think of poor debtor nations and their people as victims or
        >beneficiaries and the usurious nations as perpetrators or benefactors, the
        >fundamental laws of the universe tend to reward the giver more than the
        >receiver.
        >
        >If you have had an opportunity to study the usefulness and effectiveness of
        >forgiveness in conflict resolution, trauma, or simple human relationships
        >you will probably understand that the act of forgiveness directly benefits
        >the "forgiver" far more profoundly than the "forgiven" although both
        >parties benefit. I personally feel that the creditor nations and peoples
        >of the planet will benefit from debt cancellation in many ways far beyond
        >our current understanding.
        >
        >If our president is the man of God he proclaims to be, his support for this
        >should be a simple act of faith readily forthcoming.
        >
        >Personally, as a matter of principle I think our country should seriously
        >consider debt cancellation as an effective contribution to development in
        >Africa and our leaders who have taken such a principled religious position
        >on so many issues during the current administration should be consistent
        >and follow through with some real affirmative action rather than simple
        >punitive reaction.
        >
        >Vyrle
        >
        >A study of the sacred documents of the religions of the earth regarding
        >usury might also be revealing and probably condemnatory of both colonialism
        >and neo colonialism (and some other commonly accepted business practices).
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
        >From: kristen cheney <kcheney12@...>
        >Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
        >Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2005 22:12:54 -0700
        >
        > >Cynical, indeed -- conveniently, American-ly cynical. I'm frankly
        > >stunned that people who have lived in Africa for a while think it's
        > >better to leave countries in crippling indebtedness until their
        > >leaders learn to 'behave.' After all, America has such stellar
        > >examples of leadership for them to emulate... and it's not as if debt
        > >forgiveness won't come with as many western, 'democratic' hoops to
        > >jump through as the loans do. Still, any African I've talked to would
        > >rather have their national debt forgiven in efforts to end the
        > >relationship of dependency and take their chances with their own
        > >leaders than to remain yoked to IMF/World Bank policy.
        > >
        > >Paul, at the risk of you taking this as an invitation to enlighten me,
        > >I really don't see how forgiving countries' debt is 'taking away your
        > >money.' And I'm one of those who don't agree that colonialism has
        > >effectually ended; it's just taken on new form (i.e. "aid"). It's too
        > >easy as Americans to eschew that information in favor of blaming poor
        > >governance in Africa, but I think the issue is much more complex than
        > >anyone's mentioned. As it will likely fall on deaf ears, though, I'll
        > >spare you my 'lecture' on global structural violence. If you're an
        > >optimist like me who thinks debt forgiveness might help the world's
        > >poorest people, I just wanted to pass on an opportunity to take
        > >action. If you're in the cynical camp, feel free revel in your sense
        > >of entitlement and your own "garish mansion furnishings and tacky
        > >cars." Sheesh! Forget I asked.
        > >
        > >Peace out,
        > >KC
        > >
        > >On 6/8/05, Jesse Johnson <johnson@...> wrote:
        > >> originally, i held my tongue on this. but after reading paul's cynical
        > >> cost/benefit analysis, followed by kristen's stern lecture on
        > >> colonialism (and neocolonialism) i thought i'd offer up my own opinion.
        > >>
        > >> i guess i don't get it. what exactly do you expect debt cancellation to
        > >> accomplish?
        > >>
        > >> consulting the source of this not so persuasive chain mail;
        > >>
        > >> http://www.jubilee2000uk.org/
        > >>
        > >> i see that this will allegedly free up poor countries to divert a
        > >> greater fraction of their meager revenues to helping their neediest
        > >> citizens rather than continue to make staggering payments servicing the
        > >> debt.
        > >>
        > >> now, how many of us that spent a couple of years in africa expect
        > >> leaders of these nations to behave so nobly?
        > >>
        > >> better to bleed them out on debts. otherwise i'd expect the short term
        > >> boom in the garish furnishings for mansions and tacky executive
        > >> automobile markets to destabilize the world economy. we need garish
        > >> mansion furnishings and tacky cars for credit card holders right here
        >in
        > >> *this* country.
        > >>
        > >> and bling is definitely the happy go lucky point of view on leadership
        > >> with a new credit card. one does not have to be very imaginative at all
        > >> to think of the things robert mugabe or omar ahmad al-bashir could do
        > >> with a new spending limit.
        > >>
        > >> then again, maybe i'm just cynical. or maybe you've discovered a way to
        > >> snatch away sovereignty from poor nations, make their leaders do what
        >is
        > >> in the best interest of their own people, rather than in the best
        > >> interest of a tiny handful of elites? if so, let me in on to your
        > >> secret. we need it here too.
        > >>
        > >> at any rate, it now sounds like the cheney/blair/bono triumvirate will
        > >> be getting what their after. perhaps it is better to have at least
        > >> tried.
        > >>
        > >> better buy that mercedes with mink accents and bullet proof glass
        >quick,
        > >> before the price sky rockets!
        > >>
        > >> jesse
        > >--
        > >"So we starve all the teachers
        > >and recruit more marines.
        > >How come we don't even know what that means?
        > >It's obvious!" --Joe Jackson, The Obvious Song
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >Yahoo! Groups Links
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >---
        > >[This E-mail Scanned for viruses by Onlinemac.com]
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >________________________________________________________________
        >Sent via OnlineMac WebMail - www.onlinemac.com
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >---
        >[This E-mail Scanned for viruses by Onlinemac.com]
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Paul DEVER
        Thank you. However, a few minor issues: KC: Cynical, indeed -- conveniently, American-ly cynical. PAUL: Yes I am cynical to the point that I will almost always
        Message 3 of 20 , Jun 9, 2005
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          Thank you.

          However, a few minor issues:

          KC: Cynical, indeed -- conveniently, American-ly cynical.
          PAUL: Yes I am cynical to the point that I will almost always believe that
          there is little if any selflessness in any act proposed by any organization.

          KC: I'm frankly stunned that people who have lived in Africa for a while
          think it's better to leave countries in crippling indebtedness until their
          leaders learn to 'behave.'
          PAUL: Living in Africa (or anywhere...is Africa the only place with indebted
          countries???) I never suggested leaving a country in crippling indebtedness
          (nor were those my words), and far be it frm me to intervene in a country's
          internal affairs...but they cease to be internal once a country asks for
          aid, debt forgivenss, assistance, etc. A sweeping generalization such as
          this makes it difficult to continue the parable of "Before you tell me how
          to lead my life, walk in my shoes..." I have walked in those shoes and
          until I see potable water in every village in a country, I will probably
          have the same opinions. A country that really helps itself will make sure
          that clean drinking water is available to all.

          KC:After all, America has such stellar examples of leadership for them to
          emulate... and it's not as if debt forgiveness won't come with as many
          western, 'democratic' hoops to jump through as the loans do.
          PAUL: Democracy, self-reliance, whathaveyou are processes that take time,
          and we should not expect overnight results. But we must be honest and admit
          that if one is to accept blame for corrupting someone, then the corrupted
          ones shouold take blame for being corrupt...As they say, You cannot cheat an
          honest man.

          KC: Still, any African I've talked to would rather have their national debt
          forgiven in efforts to end the relationship of dependency and take their
          chances with their own leaders than to remain yoked to IMF/World Bank
          policy.
          PAUL: This is an interesting concept, although I have talked to many
          Africans, Asians, Latinos, and other groups of people who could be said to
          be "yoked" Unless ther ar controls in place, what basis do we have to
          believe that the same cycle would not be continued. I am not at all saying
          it is right for a country to spend 33-60% of its GNP on interest, but this
          forgiveness will come out of my pocket. These loans were guaranteeed
          somewhere or no bank in the world would have "given money"

          KC: Paul, at the risk of you taking this as an invitation to enlighten me, I
          really don't see how forgiving countries' debt is 'taking away your money.'
          PAUL: It is taking my money in that I pay higher taxes for the US to bail
          out some bank, institution tha gave out the loan.

          KC: And I'm one of those who don't agree that colonialism has effectually
          ended; it's just taken on new form (i.e. "aid"). It's too easy as Americans
          to eschew that information in favor of blaming poor governance in Africa,
          but I think the issue is much more complex than anyone's mentioned.
          PAUL: Colonialism was a forced situation., I do not know of any country
          that was "forced" to accept aid in any form.

          KC: As it will likely fall on deaf ears, though, I'll spare you my 'lecture'
          on global structural violence.
          PAUL: I am not sure what Global Structural Violence is...your lecture would
          not fall on deaf ears. Please explain.

          KC: If you're an optimist like me who thinks debt forgiveness might help
          the world's poorest people, I just wanted to pass on an opportunity to take
          action.
          PAUL: Debt forgiveness should cover everyone, not just certain countries.
          In a smaller, but equally alarming level, debt forgiveness for Americans
          drowning in debt would be a good idea as well. If your theory holds true,
          then people who abuse their credit cards have no responsibility, and should
          be given debt forgiveness (bankruptcy), but since this path was abused by
          many, Congress and various authorities have placed controls in this area.
          Why not ask from others what we ask of ourselves?

          KC: If you're in the cynical camp, feel free revel in your sense of
          entitlement and your own "garish mansion furnishings and tacky cars."
          Sheesh! Forget I asked.
          PC: I have no sense of entitlement. Entitlement is crippling our economy, as
          well as corruption, theft of public services, abuse of public trust, etc.

          PS: I have no mansion furnishing, garish or otherwise, and I own no car;
          each car I have owned (R-5, BMW, Ford Focus) were modest and well-jept. I
          take care of things I own or for which I am responsible. Punish or catigate
          me if otherwise, and likewise to my fellow citizen. But then again, it is
          mine to do with what I want...

          PSD
        • Paul DEVER
          Cathy, dear Cathy...always the voice of reason... ... From: Don & Cathy Weber Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com To:
          Message 4 of 20 , Jun 9, 2005
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            Cathy, dear Cathy...always the voice of reason...

            ----Original Message Follows----
            From: "Don & Cathy Weber" <weber@...>
            Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
            To: <ujeni@yahoogroups.com>
            Subject: Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt
            Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 08:08:15 -0700

            Okay Jesse... (Paul, I've responded to your bait too often, already)

            Now you've done it! (but admittedly I can visualize those added mansions
            and Mercedes). I guess the argument is that if a guy's bills are taking up
            too much of his income, he can't buy groceries. And we've all seen the guy
            buying the big screen TV, right? However maybe his wife has more sense...or
            even the kids...so there's hope if they can get copntrol of the purse
            strings?

            Withholding aid seems to be a better stick; seems to have started to work in
            Malawi. Too early to count our chickens.

            And though June 7th is past you have until June 29th to call the White
            House....see instructions below the article.

            Cathy

            ********
            US 'could end world poverty by 2025'

            Julian Borger in Washington
            Monday March 7, 2005
            The Guardian

            Jeffrey Sachs, a prominent US economist and a special adviser to the UN
            secretary general, argues in a new book that extreme poverty could be
            eradicated by 2025.
            In The End of Poverty, he says much will depend on the choices made by
            Americans, who are paying a far smaller share of their income in foreign aid
            than they promised three years ago, and only a 30th of the "nearly $500bn
            [�260bn] the US will spend this year on the military".

            "Currently, more than eight million people around the world die each year
            because they are too poor to stay alive. Yet our generation, in the US and
            abroad, can choose to end extreme poverty by the year 2025," he writes.

            Professor Sachs is the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia
            University and the head of the UN's Millennium Project, formulating
            anti-poverty goals.

            In an excerpt from his book published in Time magazine, he says there is
            little evidence that corruption has been the main obstacle to development in
            Africa, where extreme poverty is concentrated.

            Rather, he blames the geographical and climactic conditions that have
            contributed to drought and disease.

            He quotes World Bank figures showing that more than a billion people suffer
            extreme, or life-threatening poverty, and sets out nine broadly defined
            steps that should be taken to address the problem.

            One is: "Redeem the US role in the world."

            He writes: "The richest and most powerful country, long the leader and
            inspiration in democratic ideals, is barely participating in global efforts
            to end poverty and protect the environment, thus undermining its own
            security."

            He says it is time to honour George Bush's Monterrey Consensus commitment,
            made at the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development, to
            give 0.7% of US national income to foreign development goals.

            Few countries have crossed that threshold, but the US has performed worst of
            all in the developed world, he says.

            "In 2002, the US gave $3 per sub-Saharan African. Taking out the parts for
            US consultants and technical cooperation, food and other emergency aid,
            administrative costs and debt relief, the aid per African came to the grand
            total of perhaps 6 [cents]."

            US officials argue that much of its aid is delivered in the form of military
            assistance at times of international crisis, and is also paid in private
            donations.

            Another of his recommended steps is, "Rescue the IMF and World Bank", which
            he insists have the experience and expertise to play an important role but
            have "been used like debt-collection agencies for the big creditor
            countries".

            Prof Sachs rose to prominence 15 years ago as the chief designer of "shock
            therapy" for the post-communist economies of Poland and Russia, emphasising
            an immediate transition to free markets and drastic cuts in state spending.

            In his new book he argues that the market-oriented prescriptions of the IMF
            have been part of the problem, by cutting away at the fabric of poor
            societies.

            *******************


            JUNE 29 - CALL THE WHITE HOUSE ONE WEEK BEFORE THE G-8 SUMMIT

            On June 29, Jubilee USA Network, Africa Action, American Friends
            Service Committee, and the 50 Years is Enough Network will gather
            outside the White House in Lafayette Park to deliver thousands of
            postcards calling on the President to Wipe Out Debt in 2005. While
            we are outside, Jubilee and debt cancellation supporters should
            flood the White House phone lines with a demand for a bold deal on
            debt.

            On June 29, call the White House at 202-456-1111.

            When you call, ask that President Bush:

            Work with other G-8 leaders to announce a bold new deal on debt at
            the G-8 summit.

            A deal on debt cancellation must fully wipe out the debt - by
            providing 100% cancellation of IMF, World Bank, and African
            Development Fund debt owed by all impoverished nations.

            Debt cancellation must not be conditioned upon economic conditions
            of any kind.



            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Jesse Johnson" <johnson@...>
            To: <ujeni@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 1:56 PM
            Subject: Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt


            > originally, i held my tongue on this. but after reading paul's cynical
            > cost/benefit analysis, followed by kristen's stern lecture on
            > colonialism (and neocolonialism) i thought i'd offer up my own opinion.
            >
            > i guess i don't get it. what exactly do you expect debt cancellation to
            > accomplish?
            >
            > consulting the source of this not so persuasive chain mail;
            >
            > http://www.jubilee2000uk.org/
            >
            > i see that this will allegedly free up poor countries to divert a
            > greater fraction of their meager revenues to helping their neediest
            > citizens rather than continue to make staggering payments servicing the
            > debt.
            >
            > now, how many of us that spent a couple of years in africa expect
            > leaders of these nations to behave so nobly?
            >
            > better to bleed them out on debts. otherwise i'd expect the short term
            > boom in the garish furnishings for mansions and tacky executive
            > automobile markets to destabilize the world economy. we need garish
            > mansion furnishings and tacky cars for credit card holders right here in
            > *this* country.
            >
            > and bling is definitely the happy go lucky point of view on leadership
            > with a new credit card. one does not have to be very imaginative at all
            > to think of the things robert mugabe or omar ahmad al-bashir could do
            > with a new spending limit.
            >
            > then again, maybe i'm just cynical. or maybe you've discovered a way to
            > snatch away sovereignty from poor nations, make their leaders do what is
            > in the best interest of their own people, rather than in the best
            > interest of a tiny handful of elites? if so, let me in on to your
            > secret. we need it here too.
            >
            > at any rate, it now sounds like the cheney/blair/bono triumvirate will
            > be getting what their after. perhaps it is better to have at least
            > tried.
            >
            > better buy that mercedes with mink accents and bullet proof glass quick,
            > before the price sky rockets!
            >
            > jesse
            >
          • Paul DEVER
            Yes, aren t baby sneezes great??????? Whudda thunk????? ... From: Elizabeth Bell Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com To:
            Message 5 of 20 , Jun 9, 2005
            • 0 Attachment
              Yes, aren't baby sneezes great??????? Whudda thunk?????

              ----Original Message Follows----
              From: "Elizabeth Bell" <elizabeth_bell@...>
              Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
              To: <ujeni@yahoogroups.com>
              Subject: Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt
              Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 21:49:43 -0400

              Hello Gentle Ujenites,

              Not weighing in on the discussion per se, just thought I'd step outside it
              for a moment to say how good it is to have a forum for these discussions. I
              am, of course, fairly undecided and so have agreed in turn, with a hearty
              "yes, yes, that is so true!" to every comment and angle presented thus far.

              It is so nice to exercise that side of my brain in thinking about larger,
              fairly sticky global issues when so much of my energy these days is take up
              by spit up, poop and boogers (yes, boogers - I knew about the spit up and
              poop but NO ONE warned me about the boogers!).

              And now back to Jubilee and Debt Forgiveness. We apologize for interrupting
              your regular programming....

              : )
              Liz
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Eric Bone
              To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2005 9:02 PM
              Subject: Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt


              One thing about our ujeni discussion so far, and the international
              discussion for that matter, is the level of generality, the sweeping
              generalizations that we employ. To me it is a much more interesting issue,
              and perhaps a more important one, to discuss the circumstances under which
              debt forgiveness can be effective and appropriate. What objectives would we
              expect to accomplish by canceling the debt? Under what circumstances would
              it be possible to accomplish those objectives? Do we have a way of
              measuring the ability of a country to reap the benefits of debt
              cancellation? Does this involve some set of criteria that the country must
              meet? (I suppose these would be the "hoops" Kristen referred to.)



              The trend of the Bush administration's international development
              assistance strategy is to "reward good governance" with more assistance.
              This is the basis of the Millenium Challenge Corporation. Whether or not
              you believe that this is a good model for assistance (I am as yet
              undecided), for the sake of consistency it would make sense for the
              administration also to "reward" countries with debt cancellation. So which
              African countries have the capacity to benefit now, and which ones would
              not? I don't have the answer, but I believe it would be a more fruitful
              line of discussion to pursue than the sweeping (neo-)colonialism vs.
              corruption argument.



              -Eric



              p.s. Vyrle (or anyone), has there ever been a time when the idea of the
              "Jubilee" redistribution of wealth every 50 years has actually been put into
              practice? I have never heard of any evidence of this taking place, and so
              when I read Leviticus I suspect that it describes a mythical view of
              history, just as I consider the creation stories of Genesis to be mythical.
              It seems to me they tell us something about a people's values, but are not
              to be taken literally.



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            • Jesse Johnson
              thank you dan, kathy, eric and vyrle for elevating the dialog about debt forgiveness above the bombast and bile i was engaged in. vyrle, i really liked the
              Message 6 of 20 , Jun 10, 2005
              • 0 Attachment
                thank you dan, kathy, eric and vyrle for elevating the dialog about debt
                forgiveness above the bombast and bile i was engaged in.

                vyrle, i really liked the religious arguments in favor of forgiveness.
                the idea of allowing 'our better angels' to aid governance is a good
                one. problems arise in determining exactly which set of angles we are
                talking about. but, as is pointed out, usury will get a hit in nearly
                every religious convention.

                then again, we return to a few fundamental problems, eg. the truly
                rotten people that control some african countries. they will range from
                the merely irresponsible to the downright dangerous. does it even
                matter? maybe not. if the practice of forgiveness provides a blood
                thirsty tyrant the means to extend his grip on power, that is something
                the forgivers should be willing to accept responsibility for. does that
                offset the 'goodness' of the act of forgiveness?

                as eric says, better maybe to wield the debt itself as an instrument for
                shaping the poor nations into something we feel is more representative
                of their citizenry. ahh, but who better than 'us' to decide? there is a
                colossal conceit in that sort of thinking. but we are drawn into those
                thoughts whenever we contemplate how to help people. and poor nations
                encourage us to do so when they request assistance. it's much harder to
                help people than most people would guess. the act of accepting
                assistance is an act of surrender, a diminishing freedom. i suppose that
                is what is meant by 'neocolonialism'. however, in too many cases the
                alternative is to look away from humanitarian horrors. so, i can't
                condone the sort of name calling that surrounds this issue. both parties
                are responsible for the state of affairs.

                dan and kathy (and me and paul i suppose), are analogies to personal
                finance appropriate? maybe. the debt forgiveness is certain to affect at
                least one person profoundly, the leader of the nation being forgiven.
                the elite in poor nations are such a small group, but they are the
                interface with the west. even as peace corps, i spent much more time
                speaking to good english speakers, who tended to be relatively well off,
                if not completely elite. it's only natural. i guess that i'm trying to
                get back to the idea that this act of forgiveness is really just an
                agreement between two very small groups of people, and is of almost no
                consequence to the vast majority of the poor. as such, it is an
                enticement for certain individuals to behave irresponsibly (or
                opportunity to behave well, depending on your point of view).

                one thing that isn't mentioned is that the nations are always free to
                quit making payments on their debt. they chose not to do that. i assume
                that this is because they'd like to remain in the good graces of the
                imf, so they can borrow more. this, in turn, makes me think that debt
                relief will be very short lived. but, i'd be delighted to be wrong.

                finally, a lot of energy is being devoted to this issue. that's been one
                of the biggest problems for me. there is a great deal of interest in
                seeing africa improve its lot, but not very many ideas about how to help
                them do that. the ones that get a lot of play on the left generally
                involve forking over a hefty sum of cash (but trivial in terms of gdp,
                blah, blah, i know). those on the right generally fall into the
                'liberalizing markets' plans. those are the plans that are probably
                responsible for much of the change in malawi dan mentions.

                i think that the cash assistance programs display a naivete about human
                nature.

                i think that the market driven solutions are all too often guided by the
                narrow self interest of people that are selling something.

                we are a group keenly interested in seeing africa benefit. what policy
                choices should we really get behind. that's the real question.

                i don't know the answer. if i did, maybe i'd start writing to the list
                in CAPITAL LETTERS, urging you to CALL BUSH TODAY.

                but i doubt it.

                thanks to all for the engaging discussion.
              • Don & Cathy Weber
                Hi Dan... It s so good to hear your voice. I don t know what to think either. It s not an easy, clear-cut issue, is it? I m also glad to hear that Lilongwe
                Message 7 of 20 , Jun 10, 2005
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hi Dan...

                  It's so good to "hear" your voice. I don't know what to think either. It's
                  not an easy, clear-cut issue, is it?

                  I'm also glad to hear that Lilongwe is experiencing some good development.
                  We were saddened, as we wrote, about what we saw in Blantyre, and Limbe was
                  a disaster. Downtown Blantyre had some completed bigger buildings that were
                  under construction by the time we left in '96. But, the main PTC was closed
                  and empty. The 2 Whitetex fabric stores were closed and empty. The one
                  fast food chicken place that opened when we were there was closed and empty.
                  However, we did find a tiny little pizza place. (The Hosteria was closed
                  but said it was moving). As we said there were no more buses...only
                  minivans in a real state of disrepair. There is a new shopping center with
                  a bright shiny supermarket with high, high prices...a package of biscuits
                  there was almost 3 times the price as the same biscuits at another store.
                  The clientele was probably 90% azungu. Across the street was a glitzy
                  office complex...owned by Muluzi. The Central Bookstore is now at the
                  shopping center...it's tiny, tiny, tiny...probably 1/10th the size of the
                  store downtown. The same guy in the wheelchair owns and operates it. He
                  said that it's now the only bookstore in Malawi???? Can't beleve there is
                  none in Lilongwe. Malawian friends in Blantyre were feeling discouraged.
                  Maybe Blantyre has outlived its day as the trade/economic center of the
                  country and that Lilongwe will take on the role. It may be a natural
                  phenomenon that historically has happened to cities around the world. Our
                  view of the country on our trip back was narrow.

                  Did you receive a copy of a CARE document about worldwide education of
                  girls? Malawi ranked in overall rates of dropout by 5th grade 69th out of
                  71 countries and was used as an example of one of the failing
                  countries...with a 40% increase of dropouts in the last 10 years. The
                  statistics may be based on the fact that 11 years ago every kid rushed to
                  school because of the excitement of free education and this is a natural
                  dropoff. However, the goals for new teachers and new classrooms couldn't be
                  met. Do you think education could get a boost from debt relief? On a
                  Library of Congress wall "The foundation of every state is the education of
                  its children."

                  I hate to feel discouraged about a country I love so much. I must say that
                  politically it may be on the upswing, I feel very hopeful about that.

                  It seems to me that some years ago select countries received debt
                  forgiveness. Am I imagining this? If it happened, does anyone know the
                  results in those countries? Might give some insight.

                  Retirement gives one too much time to pontificate. Gotta go clean the
                  house.

                  Cathy


                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Daniel Dudley" <papadud@...>
                  To: <ujeni@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2005 8:08 PM
                  Subject: Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt


                  >I don't know what to think of this conversation. I am glad that many are
                  > contributing to it though. Being someone who is has a bit of debt, I have
                  > a
                  > pretty good idea of how good I would feel if someone said that all of my
                  > debts would be forgiven, but will it be any better for me? As much as I
                  > would like to think it, I have a funny feeling that I would be back in
                  > debt
                  > (maybe not as bad) in short order. It will probably be the same in these
                  > developing countries, who knows for sure? Have we ever done it before?
                  > What strings will the developed countries tie on to make it just as
                  > difficult for these developing countries to succeed in other ways? I am
                  > sure that we can think of something.
                  >
                  > I have read several books recently and can't help but think how they apply
                  > to this situation. The Fifth Discipline speaks about systems thinking.
                  > If
                  > we forgive the debt, what are all of the consequences of such an action?
                  > The book Collapse discusses many things, but one that sticks out in my
                  > mind
                  > is the impossibility for the planet to support a first-world lifestyle for
                  > everyone. Then again when did life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
                  > require two cars, 3 TV's, 2 computers, disposable EVERYTHING, etc. We saw
                  > freezie wrappers everywhere, imagine if disposable diapers were as easy to
                  > get.
                  >
                  > I also think that many of us picture Malawi exactly as we left it several
                  > years ago. Behind? yes, but at a complete stand-still because of debt? No.
                  > My wife is visiting family for the summer and I get to call her every
                  > couple
                  > of days. Last time she went home, I had to call her mother at the
                  > district
                  > hospital and have a messenger go to the house to tell her that I called
                  > and
                  > would call back. A couple of years ago, the telecom installed new phone
                  > lines, and many people now have phones. Gertrude's sister even has a cell
                  > phone. Gertrude tells me about how much Lilongwe has changed/modernized.
                  > Is it still very poor? Definately, but little by little things are
                  > changing
                  > for better or worse. Would debt forgiveness help accelerate development?
                  > Probably, but would the planet, the countries, cultures, and people be
                  > able
                  > to handle it? Who knows for sure?
                  >
                  > As I re-read this my posting is a bit confusing, but is this issue any
                  > less
                  > so?
                  >
                  > Dan
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >>From: "vyrle" <vyrle@...>
                  >>Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
                  >>To: <ujeni@yahoogroups.com>
                  >>Subject: Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt
                  >>Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 15:25:29 -0700
                  >>
                  >>9 June 2005
                  >>
                  >>Dear all,
                  >>
                  >>I think I will jump in on this one for a moment.
                  >>
                  >>The debt forgiveness idea stems from the "Jubilee" year celebrated in
                  >>hebrew law as recorded in Leviticus. The description can be located in
                  >>most Bibles used by christian churches in the 25th chapter of Leviticus.
                  >>
                  >>Below is referenced an interesting study of the concept.
                  >>
                  >>Quote:
                  >>The law of Jubilee is given in the book of Leviticus. "And you shall
                  >>number
                  >>seven sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and the space of the
                  >>seven sabbaths of years shall be unto you forty and nine years. THEN you
                  >>shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the
                  >>seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall you make the trumpet sound
                  >>throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and
                  >>PROCLAIM LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,
                  >>it shall be a Jubilee unto you; AND YOU SHALL RETURN EVERY MAN UNTO HIS
                  >>POSSESSION, and you shall return every man unto his family" (Lev.
                  >>25:8-10).
                  >>End Quote.
                  >>
                  >>www location
                  >>http://www.hisremnant.org/eby/articles/savior/jubilee.html
                  >>
                  >>Google search result
                  >>Jubilee
                  >>Study of Old Testament Jubilee and its application for all creation ...
                  >>The
                  >>law of Jubilee is given in the book of Leviticus. " ... THEN you shall
                  >>cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh
                  >>...
                  >>
                  >>Homepage
                  >>www.hisremnant.org
                  >>
                  >>My comment:
                  >>
                  >>Notwithstanding our "cynicism" over the short term effectiveness of debt
                  >>forgiveness or the practicality of this action in the complexity of
                  >>today's
                  >>planetary economics or whether the "apathetic masses" will respond in
                  >>positive ways, there are significant benefits beyond the simple costs and
                  >>cancellation of debts.
                  >>
                  >>Whether you think of poor debtor nations and their people as victims or
                  >>beneficiaries and the usurious nations as perpetrators or benefactors, the
                  >>fundamental laws of the universe tend to reward the giver more than the
                  >>receiver.
                  >>
                  >>If you have had an opportunity to study the usefulness and effectiveness
                  >>of
                  >>forgiveness in conflict resolution, trauma, or simple human relationships
                  >>you will probably understand that the act of forgiveness directly benefits
                  >>the "forgiver" far more profoundly than the "forgiven" although both
                  >>parties benefit. I personally feel that the creditor nations and peoples
                  >>of the planet will benefit from debt cancellation in many ways far beyond
                  >>our current understanding.
                  >>
                  >>If our president is the man of God he proclaims to be, his support for
                  >>this
                  >>should be a simple act of faith readily forthcoming.
                  >>
                  >>Personally, as a matter of principle I think our country should seriously
                  >>consider debt cancellation as an effective contribution to development in
                  >>Africa and our leaders who have taken such a principled religious position
                  >>on so many issues during the current administration should be consistent
                  >>and follow through with some real affirmative action rather than simple
                  >>punitive reaction.
                  >>
                  >>Vyrle
                  >>
                  >>A study of the sacred documents of the religions of the earth regarding
                  >>usury might also be revealing and probably condemnatory of both
                  >>colonialism
                  >>and neo colonialism (and some other commonly accepted business practices).
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
                  >>From: kristen cheney <kcheney12@...>
                  >>Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
                  >>Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2005 22:12:54 -0700
                  >>
                  >> >Cynical, indeed -- conveniently, American-ly cynical. I'm frankly
                  >> >stunned that people who have lived in Africa for a while think it's
                  >> >better to leave countries in crippling indebtedness until their
                  >> >leaders learn to 'behave.' After all, America has such stellar
                  >> >examples of leadership for them to emulate... and it's not as if debt
                  >> >forgiveness won't come with as many western, 'democratic' hoops to
                  >> >jump through as the loans do. Still, any African I've talked to would
                  >> >rather have their national debt forgiven in efforts to end the
                  >> >relationship of dependency and take their chances with their own
                  >> >leaders than to remain yoked to IMF/World Bank policy.
                  >> >
                  >> >Paul, at the risk of you taking this as an invitation to enlighten me,
                  >> >I really don't see how forgiving countries' debt is 'taking away your
                  >> >money.' And I'm one of those who don't agree that colonialism has
                  >> >effectually ended; it's just taken on new form (i.e. "aid"). It's too
                  >> >easy as Americans to eschew that information in favor of blaming poor
                  >> >governance in Africa, but I think the issue is much more complex than
                  >> >anyone's mentioned. As it will likely fall on deaf ears, though, I'll
                  >> >spare you my 'lecture' on global structural violence. If you're an
                  >> >optimist like me who thinks debt forgiveness might help the world's
                  >> >poorest people, I just wanted to pass on an opportunity to take
                  >> >action. If you're in the cynical camp, feel free revel in your sense
                  >> >of entitlement and your own "garish mansion furnishings and tacky
                  >> >cars." Sheesh! Forget I asked.
                  >> >
                  >> >Peace out,
                  >> >KC
                  >> >
                  >> >On 6/8/05, Jesse Johnson <johnson@...> wrote:
                  >> >> originally, i held my tongue on this. but after reading paul's cynical
                  >> >> cost/benefit analysis, followed by kristen's stern lecture on
                  >> >> colonialism (and neocolonialism) i thought i'd offer up my own
                  >> >> opinion.
                  >> >>
                  >> >> i guess i don't get it. what exactly do you expect debt cancellation
                  >> >> to
                  >> >> accomplish?
                  >> >>
                  >> >> consulting the source of this not so persuasive chain mail;
                  >> >>
                  >> >> http://www.jubilee2000uk.org/
                  >> >>
                  >> >> i see that this will allegedly free up poor countries to divert a
                  >> >> greater fraction of their meager revenues to helping their neediest
                  >> >> citizens rather than continue to make staggering payments servicing
                  >> >> the
                  >> >> debt.
                  >> >>
                  >> >> now, how many of us that spent a couple of years in africa expect
                  >> >> leaders of these nations to behave so nobly?
                  >> >>
                  >> >> better to bleed them out on debts. otherwise i'd expect the short term
                  >> >> boom in the garish furnishings for mansions and tacky executive
                  >> >> automobile markets to destabilize the world economy. we need garish
                  >> >> mansion furnishings and tacky cars for credit card holders right here
                  >>in
                  >> >> *this* country.
                  >> >>
                  >> >> and bling is definitely the happy go lucky point of view on leadership
                  >> >> with a new credit card. one does not have to be very imaginative at
                  >> >> all
                  >> >> to think of the things robert mugabe or omar ahmad al-bashir could do
                  >> >> with a new spending limit.
                  >> >>
                  >> >> then again, maybe i'm just cynical. or maybe you've discovered a way
                  >> >> to
                  >> >> snatch away sovereignty from poor nations, make their leaders do what
                  >>is
                  >> >> in the best interest of their own people, rather than in the best
                  >> >> interest of a tiny handful of elites? if so, let me in on to your
                  >> >> secret. we need it here too.
                  >> >>
                  >> >> at any rate, it now sounds like the cheney/blair/bono triumvirate will
                  >> >> be getting what their after. perhaps it is better to have at least
                  >> >> tried.
                  >> >>
                  >> >> better buy that mercedes with mink accents and bullet proof glass
                  >>quick,
                  >> >> before the price sky rockets!
                  >> >>
                  >> >> jesse
                  >> >--
                  >> >"So we starve all the teachers
                  >> >and recruit more marines.
                  >> >How come we don't even know what that means?
                  >> >It's obvious!" --Joe Jackson, The Obvious Song
                  >> >
                  >> >
                  >> >
                  >> >Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >> >
                  >> >
                  >> >
                  >> >
                  >> >
                  >> >
                  >> >---
                  >> >[This E-mail Scanned for viruses by Onlinemac.com]
                  >> >
                  >> >
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>________________________________________________________________
                  >>Sent via OnlineMac WebMail - www.onlinemac.com
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>---
                  >>[This E-mail Scanned for viruses by Onlinemac.com]
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Daniel Dudley
                  Well, if you get bored, here is something that you and Don could take up. HA/HA http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8168846/?GT1=6657 Dan
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jun 10, 2005
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Well, if you get bored, here is something that you and Don could take up.
                    HA/HA

                    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8168846/?GT1=6657

                    Dan



                    >From: "Don & Cathy Weber" <weber@...>
                    >Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
                    >To: <ujeni@yahoogroups.com>
                    >Subject: Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt
                    >Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 10:27:47 -0700
                    >
                    >Hi Dan...
                    >
                    >It's so good to "hear" your voice. I don't know what to think either.
                    >It's
                    >not an easy, clear-cut issue, is it?
                    >
                    >I'm also glad to hear that Lilongwe is experiencing some good development.
                    >We were saddened, as we wrote, about what we saw in Blantyre, and Limbe was
                    >a disaster. Downtown Blantyre had some completed bigger buildings that
                    >were
                    >under construction by the time we left in '96. But, the main PTC was
                    >closed
                    >and empty. The 2 Whitetex fabric stores were closed and empty. The one
                    >fast food chicken place that opened when we were there was closed and
                    >empty.
                    >However, we did find a tiny little pizza place. (The Hosteria was closed
                    >but said it was moving). As we said there were no more buses...only
                    >minivans in a real state of disrepair. There is a new shopping center with
                    >a bright shiny supermarket with high, high prices...a package of biscuits
                    >there was almost 3 times the price as the same biscuits at another store.
                    >The clientele was probably 90% azungu. Across the street was a glitzy
                    >office complex...owned by Muluzi. The Central Bookstore is now at the
                    >shopping center...it's tiny, tiny, tiny...probably 1/10th the size of the
                    >store downtown. The same guy in the wheelchair owns and operates it. He
                    >said that it's now the only bookstore in Malawi???? Can't beleve there is
                    >none in Lilongwe. Malawian friends in Blantyre were feeling discouraged.
                    >Maybe Blantyre has outlived its day as the trade/economic center of the
                    >country and that Lilongwe will take on the role. It may be a natural
                    >phenomenon that historically has happened to cities around the world. Our
                    >view of the country on our trip back was narrow.
                    >
                    >Did you receive a copy of a CARE document about worldwide education of
                    >girls? Malawi ranked in overall rates of dropout by 5th grade 69th out of
                    >71 countries and was used as an example of one of the failing
                    >countries...with a 40% increase of dropouts in the last 10 years. The
                    >statistics may be based on the fact that 11 years ago every kid rushed to
                    >school because of the excitement of free education and this is a natural
                    >dropoff. However, the goals for new teachers and new classrooms couldn't
                    >be
                    >met. Do you think education could get a boost from debt relief? On a
                    >Library of Congress wall "The foundation of every state is the education of
                    >its children."
                    >
                    >I hate to feel discouraged about a country I love so much. I must say that
                    >politically it may be on the upswing, I feel very hopeful about that.
                    >
                    >It seems to me that some years ago select countries received debt
                    >forgiveness. Am I imagining this? If it happened, does anyone know the
                    >results in those countries? Might give some insight.
                    >
                    >Retirement gives one too much time to pontificate. Gotta go clean the
                    >house.
                    >
                    >Cathy
                    >
                    >
                    >----- Original Message -----
                    >From: "Daniel Dudley" <papadud@...>
                    >To: <ujeni@yahoogroups.com>
                    >Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2005 8:08 PM
                    >Subject: Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt
                    >
                    >
                    > >I don't know what to think of this conversation. I am glad that many are
                    > > contributing to it though. Being someone who is has a bit of debt, I
                    >have
                    > > a
                    > > pretty good idea of how good I would feel if someone said that all of my
                    > > debts would be forgiven, but will it be any better for me? As much as I
                    > > would like to think it, I have a funny feeling that I would be back in
                    > > debt
                    > > (maybe not as bad) in short order. It will probably be the same in
                    >these
                    > > developing countries, who knows for sure? Have we ever done it before?
                    > > What strings will the developed countries tie on to make it just as
                    > > difficult for these developing countries to succeed in other ways? I am
                    > > sure that we can think of something.
                    > >
                    > > I have read several books recently and can't help but think how they
                    >apply
                    > > to this situation. The Fifth Discipline speaks about systems thinking.
                    > > If
                    > > we forgive the debt, what are all of the consequences of such an action?
                    > > The book Collapse discusses many things, but one that sticks out in my
                    > > mind
                    > > is the impossibility for the planet to support a first-world lifestyle
                    >for
                    > > everyone. Then again when did life, liberty, and the pursuit of
                    >happiness
                    > > require two cars, 3 TV's, 2 computers, disposable EVERYTHING, etc. We
                    >saw
                    > > freezie wrappers everywhere, imagine if disposable diapers were as easy
                    >to
                    > > get.
                    > >
                    > > I also think that many of us picture Malawi exactly as we left it
                    >several
                    > > years ago. Behind? yes, but at a complete stand-still because of debt?
                    >No.
                    > > My wife is visiting family for the summer and I get to call her every
                    > > couple
                    > > of days. Last time she went home, I had to call her mother at the
                    > > district
                    > > hospital and have a messenger go to the house to tell her that I called
                    > > and
                    > > would call back. A couple of years ago, the telecom installed new phone
                    > > lines, and many people now have phones. Gertrude's sister even has a
                    >cell
                    > > phone. Gertrude tells me about how much Lilongwe has
                    >changed/modernized.
                    > > Is it still very poor? Definately, but little by little things are
                    > > changing
                    > > for better or worse. Would debt forgiveness help accelerate
                    >development?
                    > > Probably, but would the planet, the countries, cultures, and people be
                    > > able
                    > > to handle it? Who knows for sure?
                    > >
                    > > As I re-read this my posting is a bit confusing, but is this issue any
                    > > less
                    > > so?
                    > >
                    > > Dan
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >>From: "vyrle" <vyrle@...>
                    > >>Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
                    > >>To: <ujeni@yahoogroups.com>
                    > >>Subject: Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt
                    > >>Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 15:25:29 -0700
                    > >>
                    > >>9 June 2005
                    > >>
                    > >>Dear all,
                    > >>
                    > >>I think I will jump in on this one for a moment.
                    > >>
                    > >>The debt forgiveness idea stems from the "Jubilee" year celebrated in
                    > >>hebrew law as recorded in Leviticus. The description can be located in
                    > >>most Bibles used by christian churches in the 25th chapter of Leviticus.
                    > >>
                    > >>Below is referenced an interesting study of the concept.
                    > >>
                    > >>Quote:
                    > >>The law of Jubilee is given in the book of Leviticus. "And you shall
                    > >>number
                    > >>seven sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and the space of the
                    > >>seven sabbaths of years shall be unto you forty and nine years. THEN you
                    > >>shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the
                    > >>seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall you make the trumpet sound
                    > >>throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and
                    > >>PROCLAIM LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants
                    >thereof,
                    > >>it shall be a Jubilee unto you; AND YOU SHALL RETURN EVERY MAN UNTO HIS
                    > >>POSSESSION, and you shall return every man unto his family" (Lev.
                    > >>25:8-10).
                    > >>End Quote.
                    > >>
                    > >>www location
                    > >>http://www.hisremnant.org/eby/articles/savior/jubilee.html
                    > >>
                    > >>Google search result
                    > >>Jubilee
                    > >>Study of Old Testament Jubilee and its application for all creation ...
                    > >>The
                    > >>law of Jubilee is given in the book of Leviticus. " ... THEN you shall
                    > >>cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the
                    >seventh
                    > >>...
                    > >>
                    > >>Homepage
                    > >>www.hisremnant.org
                    > >>
                    > >>My comment:
                    > >>
                    > >>Notwithstanding our "cynicism" over the short term effectiveness of debt
                    > >>forgiveness or the practicality of this action in the complexity of
                    > >>today's
                    > >>planetary economics or whether the "apathetic masses" will respond in
                    > >>positive ways, there are significant benefits beyond the simple costs
                    >and
                    > >>cancellation of debts.
                    > >>
                    > >>Whether you think of poor debtor nations and their people as victims or
                    > >>beneficiaries and the usurious nations as perpetrators or benefactors,
                    >the
                    > >>fundamental laws of the universe tend to reward the giver more than the
                    > >>receiver.
                    > >>
                    > >>If you have had an opportunity to study the usefulness and effectiveness
                    > >>of
                    > >>forgiveness in conflict resolution, trauma, or simple human
                    >relationships
                    > >>you will probably understand that the act of forgiveness directly
                    >benefits
                    > >>the "forgiver" far more profoundly than the "forgiven" although both
                    > >>parties benefit. I personally feel that the creditor nations and
                    >peoples
                    > >>of the planet will benefit from debt cancellation in many ways far
                    >beyond
                    > >>our current understanding.
                    > >>
                    > >>If our president is the man of God he proclaims to be, his support for
                    > >>this
                    > >>should be a simple act of faith readily forthcoming.
                    > >>
                    > >>Personally, as a matter of principle I think our country should
                    >seriously
                    > >>consider debt cancellation as an effective contribution to development
                    >in
                    > >>Africa and our leaders who have taken such a principled religious
                    >position
                    > >>on so many issues during the current administration should be consistent
                    > >>and follow through with some real affirmative action rather than simple
                    > >>punitive reaction.
                    > >>
                    > >>Vyrle
                    > >>
                    > >>A study of the sacred documents of the religions of the earth regarding
                    > >>usury might also be revealing and probably condemnatory of both
                    > >>colonialism
                    > >>and neo colonialism (and some other commonly accepted business
                    >practices).
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
                    > >>From: kristen cheney <kcheney12@...>
                    > >>Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
                    > >>Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2005 22:12:54 -0700
                    > >>
                    > >> >Cynical, indeed -- conveniently, American-ly cynical. I'm frankly
                    > >> >stunned that people who have lived in Africa for a while think it's
                    > >> >better to leave countries in crippling indebtedness until their
                    > >> >leaders learn to 'behave.' After all, America has such stellar
                    > >> >examples of leadership for them to emulate... and it's not as if debt
                    > >> >forgiveness won't come with as many western, 'democratic' hoops to
                    > >> >jump through as the loans do. Still, any African I've talked to would
                    > >> >rather have their national debt forgiven in efforts to end the
                    > >> >relationship of dependency and take their chances with their own
                    > >> >leaders than to remain yoked to IMF/World Bank policy.
                    > >> >
                    > >> >Paul, at the risk of you taking this as an invitation to enlighten me,
                    > >> >I really don't see how forgiving countries' debt is 'taking away your
                    > >> >money.' And I'm one of those who don't agree that colonialism has
                    > >> >effectually ended; it's just taken on new form (i.e. "aid"). It's too
                    > >> >easy as Americans to eschew that information in favor of blaming poor
                    > >> >governance in Africa, but I think the issue is much more complex than
                    > >> >anyone's mentioned. As it will likely fall on deaf ears, though, I'll
                    > >> >spare you my 'lecture' on global structural violence. If you're an
                    > >> >optimist like me who thinks debt forgiveness might help the world's
                    > >> >poorest people, I just wanted to pass on an opportunity to take
                    > >> >action. If you're in the cynical camp, feel free revel in your sense
                    > >> >of entitlement and your own "garish mansion furnishings and tacky
                    > >> >cars." Sheesh! Forget I asked.
                    > >> >
                    > >> >Peace out,
                    > >> >KC
                    > >> >
                    > >> >On 6/8/05, Jesse Johnson <johnson@...> wrote:
                    > >> >> originally, i held my tongue on this. but after reading paul's
                    >cynical
                    > >> >> cost/benefit analysis, followed by kristen's stern lecture on
                    > >> >> colonialism (and neocolonialism) i thought i'd offer up my own
                    > >> >> opinion.
                    > >> >>
                    > >> >> i guess i don't get it. what exactly do you expect debt cancellation
                    > >> >> to
                    > >> >> accomplish?
                    > >> >>
                    > >> >> consulting the source of this not so persuasive chain mail;
                    > >> >>
                    > >> >> http://www.jubilee2000uk.org/
                    > >> >>
                    > >> >> i see that this will allegedly free up poor countries to divert a
                    > >> >> greater fraction of their meager revenues to helping their neediest
                    > >> >> citizens rather than continue to make staggering payments servicing
                    > >> >> the
                    > >> >> debt.
                    > >> >>
                    > >> >> now, how many of us that spent a couple of years in africa expect
                    > >> >> leaders of these nations to behave so nobly?
                    > >> >>
                    > >> >> better to bleed them out on debts. otherwise i'd expect the short
                    >term
                    > >> >> boom in the garish furnishings for mansions and tacky executive
                    > >> >> automobile markets to destabilize the world economy. we need garish
                    > >> >> mansion furnishings and tacky cars for credit card holders right
                    >here
                    > >>in
                    > >> >> *this* country.
                    > >> >>
                    > >> >> and bling is definitely the happy go lucky point of view on
                    >leadership
                    > >> >> with a new credit card. one does not have to be very imaginative at
                    > >> >> all
                    > >> >> to think of the things robert mugabe or omar ahmad al-bashir could
                    >do
                    > >> >> with a new spending limit.
                    > >> >>
                    > >> >> then again, maybe i'm just cynical. or maybe you've discovered a way
                    > >> >> to
                    > >> >> snatch away sovereignty from poor nations, make their leaders do
                    >what
                    > >>is
                    > >> >> in the best interest of their own people, rather than in the best
                    > >> >> interest of a tiny handful of elites? if so, let me in on to your
                    > >> >> secret. we need it here too.
                    > >> >>
                    > >> >> at any rate, it now sounds like the cheney/blair/bono triumvirate
                    >will
                    > >> >> be getting what their after. perhaps it is better to have at least
                    > >> >> tried.
                    > >> >>
                    > >> >> better buy that mercedes with mink accents and bullet proof glass
                    > >>quick,
                    > >> >> before the price sky rockets!
                    > >> >>
                    > >> >> jesse
                    > >> >--
                    > >> >"So we starve all the teachers
                    > >> >and recruit more marines.
                    > >> >How come we don't even know what that means?
                    > >> >It's obvious!" --Joe Jackson, The Obvious Song
                    > >> >
                    > >> >
                    > >> >
                    > >> >Yahoo! Groups Links
                    > >> >
                    > >> >
                    > >> >
                    > >> >
                    > >> >
                    > >> >
                    > >> >---
                    > >> >[This E-mail Scanned for viruses by Onlinemac.com]
                    > >> >
                    > >> >
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>________________________________________________________________
                    > >>Sent via OnlineMac WebMail - www.onlinemac.com
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>---
                    > >>[This E-mail Scanned for viruses by Onlinemac.com]
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>Yahoo! Groups Links
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • vyrle
                    10 June 2005 Dear Elizabeth and all, I truly appreciate the depth and breadth of this discussion so far, even if we tend to deal in quite broad generalities.
                    Message 9 of 20 , Jun 10, 2005
                    • 0 Attachment
                      10 June 2005

                      Dear Elizabeth and all,

                      I truly appreciate the depth and breadth of this discussion so far, even if we tend to deal in quite broad generalities. I am a bit afraid of more details because as we get more specific we can get adversarially argumentative instead of cooperatively searching for truth.

                      Anyway, Elizabeth, you (and all other parents dealing with the excretions of the very young) are performing the most important task in human development, nurture. Keep up the good work.

                      Dolly and I are visiting our youngest grandson, who you may recall this time last year was in the Yale University neonatal ICU having entered the world at 26 weeks (or so) and not expected to live very long or very well. He has now celebrated the 1 year anniversary of that traumatic experience and is off the machines, weighs 19 pounds, stands on his own, and acts just like a normal baby of his size, weight, gender, and age. I am so very pleased by his progress and apparent arrival at "normality." But I must give much credit to his mother, our daughter, career woman, fashion model, who has spent the last year pretty much confined to daily trips to New Haven or staying at home (when he came home last January) to ensure his survival and success. Would we all be so blessed with selflessness.

                      Eric, I also am not aware that any society has truly implemented the "jubilee". Whether this is a myth, part of an allegory, or parable I know not. But the laws and philosophies of the Old Testament inform a great deal of the christian world today, for good or bad. It would be nice if we rejected that which is/was obviously not so good and seriously consider that which is/was better and workable. During the nineteenth century (and probably other times) small isolated groups tried to live by some of these more positive principles. None of them exist in there idealized forms today. In the USA there was the Oneida community in Ohio, the United Order of the Mormon church, the Shakers in Kentucky, and others. It would be better to develop a more broad based and generally relevant form of idealized society.

                      One of our problems is that we want to accomplish all of this in one generation. We are probably dealing with several millenia of ongoing effort. I hope we can do what is right.

                      Vyrle


                      ---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
                      From: "Elizabeth Bell" <elizabeth_bell@...>
                      Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 21:49:43 -0400

                      >---------- Original Message ----------------------------------

                      >Hello Gentle Ujenites,
                      >
                      >Not weighing in on the discussion per se, just thought I'd step outside it for a moment to say how good it is to have a forum for these discussions. I am, of course, fairly undecided and so have agreed in turn, with a hearty "yes, yes, that is so true!" to every comment and angle presented thus far.
                      >
                      >It is so nice to exercise that side of my brain in thinking about larger, fairly sticky global issues when so much of my energy these days is take up by spit up, poop and boogers (yes, boogers - I knew about the spit up and poop but NO ONE warned me about the boogers!).
                      >
                      >And now back to Jubilee and Debt Forgiveness. We apologize for interrupting your regular programming....
                      >
                      >: )
                      >Liz
                      > ----- Original Message -----
                      > From: Eric Bone
                      > To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
                      > Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2005 9:02 PM
                      > Subject: Re: [ujeni] Call Bush Today to Cancel African Debt
                      >
                      >
                      > One thing about our ujeni discussion so far, and the international discussion for that matter, is the level of generality, the sweeping generalizations that we employ. To me it is a much more interesting issue, and perhaps a more important one, to discuss the circumstances under which debt forgiveness can be effective and appropriate. What objectives would we expect to accomplish by canceling the debt? Under what circumstances would it be possible to accomplish those objectives? Do we have a way of measuring the ability of a country to reap the benefits of debt cancellation? Does this involve some set of criteria that the country must meet? (I suppose these would be the "hoops" Kristen referred to.)
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > The trend of the Bush administration's international development assistance strategy is to "reward good governance" with more assistance. This is the basis of the Millenium Challenge Corporation. Whether or not you believe that this is a good model for assistance (I am as yet undecided), for the sake of consistency it would make sense for the administration also to "reward" countries with debt cancellation. So which African countries have the capacity to benefit now, and which ones would not? I don't have the answer, but I believe it would be a more fruitful line of discussion to pursue than the sweeping (neo-)colonialism vs. corruption argument.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > -Eric
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > p.s. Vyrle (or anyone), has there ever been a time when the idea of the "Jubilee" redistribution of wealth every 50 years has actually been put into practice? I have never heard of any evidence of this taking place, and so when I read Leviticus I suspect that it describes a mythical view of history, just as I consider the creation stories of Genesis to be mythical. It seems to me they tell us something about a people's values, but are not to be taken literally.
                      >
                      >
                      >
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